Barefoot Running? Who could have predicted?

I’ve always had a difficult relationship with running.  The Hubs has been trying to get me to run with him so we could become a running couple, but every time I tried it, I hated it.  Then, when I was pregnant, I was listening to NPR.  They did an interview with Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  There was something about the way he talked about barefoot running and the  Tarahumara Indians and Chia Seeds that was truly captivating.  I called The Hubs immediately and told him to buy the book and download the podcast and listen to it! Of course he didn’t… As we all know, life gets in the way of good intentions and I forgot to remind him and he forgot to download the podcast. (In his defense, his slightly nutty pregnant wife called him in the middle of the work day raving about something while he was trying to finish a project.)  At the time, the hubs was trying to get his running mojo back.  He snapped his Achilles tendon at the height of his running prowess and had been working his way back (clawing his way back) to that mile time.  Christopher McDougall spoke about how he too had almost given up on running because of an injury no one but a podiatrist could have diagnosed until he found out about barefoot running.  It just seemed like a story the Hubs could vibe with.

The Hubs' Vibrams

Eventually, worlds collided and the Hubs heard about Born to Run from another source.  He bought the book and was as captivated as I was by Christopher McDougall.  He found out that McDougall was giving a speech at a Penn State Campus not too far from us and we decided to go.  Despite the fact that I was pregnant, feeling huge and ran the chance of falling asleep in the middle of the lecture hall.  (I had a hilariously early unintentional bedtime when I was pregnant.  I would think I was going to stay up, but I’d just pass out.) McDougall was wearing Vibrams and no one even noticed until he pointed them out.  The black ones can go completely unnoticed.  That night, The Hubs went home and tried barefoot running and LOVED IT!  He ordered a pair of Vibrams and after an appropriate transition period, started  running “barefoot” and even got me to do it once I had my body to myself again.  The Vibrams give you more protection that you would have if the skin on your foot was actually coming into contact with the pebbles and what not you run over.  They are by the way also great for hiking.  We wore them when we went to Torrey Pines with Buff in San Diego and they made going over the terrain and walking back through the sand MUCH easier!  We even convinced Buff to get a pair!

My Vibrams

Barefoot Running is not something you just jump into.  It requires a transition period if you’ve been running in padded sneakers.  When I used to run, it sounded like Godzilla coming to wreck the town.  The Hubs used to marvel that if he put his hand on my head, he could actually feel the rumble of the impact of my steps as I walked.  One of the many things you have to learn in your transition to Barefoot Running is how to land on the balls of your feet so that you don’t rocket the impact of your entire weight coming down on your heel and straight back up your through your joints.  It takes time to learn how to do that instead of just coming down on your heels like you can in sneakers.  I used to have TERRIBLE shin splints, hurt knees and you name it when I ran in sneakers.  I all but gave up on the idea of me ever running.  Thanks to Barefoot Running in Vibrams it hurts much less to run.  I’m actually finding that I LIKE running…. okay, I love it now.  I guarantee I would have never gotten here without barefoot running.  And it looks like The Hubs may get his dream of us being a running couple afterall.

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  • Giovanna says:

    Monique, I think we’re leading parallel lives! I just finished reading Born to Run and am trying to transition into the barefoot running. I’m planning on buying either Vibrams or the NB Minimus sneakers, and maybe start doing it once or twice a week at first until I get used to it. Chad’s a big runner (I’m not), so I’m trying to get him to read Born to Run. I hope we hang out soon! Let’s get Geoff and Rosanne to have a party. 🙂 Happy running!

    • Monique says:

      LOL, Giovanna that’s great. I think we’re definitely overdue for a Geoff & Ro party! Good luck with the running. Let me know how you do!

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